In the second half of the 4th century, the first Latin commentaries on the Pauline epistles emerge. This article examines how human freedom is treated in the earliest of them, the commentaries of Marius Victorinus on Ephesians, Galatians and Philippians. The theme is touched especially in the passages explaining the pre-existence of human souls, their descent to the world and return back to God. According to Victorinus, the souls have already existed before the creation of the world, 'spiritually', in Christ. Having separated from Logos, which necessarily happens, they are confronted with the world and have to choose between God and the sensual world. Whatever they choose, the decision completes their perfection. The souls, which got entangled in the sensual world, are not able to free themselves and return back to God. They are redeemed by Christ, through his incarnation and crucifixion. The souls have to do nothing but believe in Christ; thus their 'spiritualization' and return to God begins. The question whether this faith is an act performed fully from human power, or whether it is God's gift, is not answered unambiguously.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.